Ridiculous, Theocratic Classroom Law Challenged

Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Good news!

Not much sooner than I heard that my new home state, Louisiana, had passed a law forcing the display of the Ten Commandments in the classrooms of its government schools, I have learned that a group of parents are challenging it in court:

Plaintiffs in Monday's lawsuit, who include rabbis and pastors, argue that the law is blatantly unconstitutional. It violates both binding precedent from the supreme court that has stood for almost half a century and the establishment and free exercise clauses of the first amendment, they claim.


The legal action points out that a central pillar of the new law -- the claim that there is a long tradition linking the Ten Commandments to public education in the US -- is based on a fabrication. HB71 quotes James Madison, the fourth president, as saying: "We have staked the whole future of our new nation ... upon the capacity of each of ourselves to govern ourselves according to the moral principles of the 10 Commandments."

That quote is fictitious; it is to be found in none of Madison's writings or speeches. It appears to have been drawn from a conspiracy theory popularized by the late rightwing talk show host Rush Limbaugh. [bold aded]
I fully agree with one of the parents who brought the suit, who correctly notes, "the separation of church and state means that families get to decide if, when and how their children should be introduced to religious scripts and texts."

It speaks volumes about the appreciation for freedom and for the principles of America's foundation on the part of today's conservatives that they would rely on a fiction as the justification for foisting such a law on the public -- rather than striking a real blow for freedom (and, incidentally, the ability of Christian parents to teach things like this to their own children) by working to abolish government schools altogether.

Schools should be free to teach whatever their paying customers want them to, but so long as we have the government running some schools, it should be forbidden from teaching religion of any kind.

My thanks to the parents who brought this suit, and God speed, so to speak.

-- CAV

P.S. Regarding the illustrative movie clip, I thank Paul Hsieh for the idea.

No comments: